The universal history of numbers: from prehistory to the invention of the computer / Georges Ifrah ; [translated by David Bellos, E. F. Harding, Sophie Wood, and. The Universal History of. Numbers. Numbers are so elemental that it seems inconceiv- able we could have lived without them, yet numbers are only an abstract. anyone might want to ask about the history of numbers and of counting, expecting to find truly “universal” histories of num- bers and.
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Discussing the review of “Universal History of Numbers” and “Universal History of Computing” by Joseph Dauben Osama Mahmood Rosy Tahan New York. PDF - The Universal History Of Numbers. 'Georges Ifrah is the man. This book, quite simply, rules It is outstanding a mind-boggling and enriching. The universal history of numbers: from prehistory to the invention of the computer / anyone might want to ask about the history of numbers and of counting.
This practice of keeping records by bone notching developed over time and shaped into record keeping on the tally sticks, which proved to be a comparatively more efficient way to account for events. These are also used in keeping duty hours, in courts and at various market places. Ifrah conducted research in areas that go far beyond the horizons of mere numbers and mathematics. He studied a variety of deciphered texts during his visits to different continents and in his book he goes about describing the origin of writing.
However, it is quite unclear here whether this research has been conducted by Ifrah himself or not. He does not cite any reference in the book next to these lines, though historians and anthropologists came with this information long before Ifrah started work on the book. Dauben, in several instances, made claims about what mathematicians like or dislike.
Again, in the second quote he asserts that non- specialists are gullible and they may be fed the wrong information, but as a matter of fact Dauben himself may, in a way, be classified as a non—specialist when it comes to a book regarding the history of mathematics, numbers and computing. Also, in the academic review, Dauben failed to uphold the standards of scholarly integrity and honor.
It makes the review seem more like a more subjective matter of personal like and dislike. Moreover, Dauben did not properly cite his work regarding several pieces of critical information. However, after making this claim about Ifrah, Dauben fails to give even a single quote from his book to support the argument. This can also lead to strong reasons to question the credibility of the rest of the arguments brought forward in the passage.
Later on, in the passage Dauben attacks Ifrah for his statement that the Chinese used to make little use of the ivory rods Dauben, 36 and again he does not quotes or cites his argument from the passage.
Dauben could have praised Ifrah for the amount of work he overtook and for the deciphering of many historic records, which has improved our understanding of application of numbers several millenniums ago.
Moreover, since Ifrah wrote the book for non-specialist mathematicians as a popular science book, it is not appropriate to contextualize his work by assuming it to be specifically targeted towards mathematicians, which may lead to disastrous misinterpretations.
The Language of Science. New York: Pi, The Universal History of Numbers: Therefore, the primitive man had a sense of number that allowed him to differentiate between quantities if there was to be relatively significant change Numbers — The Language of Science NLS page 1.
This sense of number later developed into counting after several decades. Since only humans were able undergo such a development, other creatures such as the birds and the animals have to rely on their naturally endowed sense of numbers to deal with quantities.
This sense of numbers is found in different animals in varying intensity. Dogs, horses and other domestic animals have been found to be very weak in this regard. Hence, they have a quite limited natural capacity to deal with numbers NLS, 4. On the other hand, experiments conducted on crows have shown that they have an unusually remarkable capacity in dealing with numbers as compared to their counterparts.
The Universal History Of Numbers
The evolution of the numbering system later lead to its applications in the field of mathematics and that is where the subject came to attain all its beauty and magnificence. If this factor becomes the work they do than mathematicians can be joined together in a common culture of Mathematics EOMC, The formulation of the number system was evolving side by side with culture.
This can be considered outrageously faulty as there have been many broad topics on which Ifrah has shed light. In fact, the Hindu- Arabic numeral system has only been given a few out of the 27 Chapters in the book.
Ifrah goes as deep as finding the roots of different words and the histories behind them. The word Calculus being referred to pebbles actually has a deeper implication as these tiny objects were used in around second to third millennium BC as instruments for keeping records and counting. On leaving for a foray each warrior used to place a pebble on a heap, and on return to the village each survivor used to remove one pebble.
Hence there are several other similar uses of the pebbles illustrated in the book. Aug 01, Douglas Summers-Stay rated it really liked it Shelves: I assumed that this would be a history of mathematics, or perhaps arithmetic. But no, like the title says, it's a history of of numbers.
The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer
Numbers and counting systems from all different cultures, from prehistoric tally marks to sheep-counting techniques, to finger counting methods from around the world. You wouldn't think it would be possible to write such a thick book about just numbers for a popular audience, but there it is.
It's illustrated on almost every page, with Mayan scripts and the deve I assumed that this would be a history of mathematics, or perhaps arithmetic. It's illustrated on almost every page, with Mayan scripts and the development of Arabic numerals and so forth.
May 06, Kate rated it really liked it. I have not actually finished this behemoth of a book, nor will I probably ever finish this behemoth book.
However, where I have skipped around, I have found it to be incredibly interesting. Jan 10, Eivind rated it it was amazing. Always at hand. Aug 09, E rated it really liked it Shelves: Extremely dense but clear and actually quite funny.
May 04, Anna rated it liked it. I treat this book as a bed time stories for mathematicians. I had problems reading it as my brain refused at some moment to take, chew and understand higher Maths.
Aug 06, Don M added it.
May 02, Stephenlouis rated it it was amazing. Quite likely the only book you will ever need to understand the history of numbers and what they really mean.
From one to zero: A universal history of numbers
I re-read this book once a year. Highly recommended. Kyle Machulis rated it really liked it Jan 10, Robert rated it liked it Oct 19, Antonio A rated it it was amazing Jun 05, Cillian rated it it was amazing May 07, Mustafa Kurt rated it it was amazing Sep 09, Chris C rated it liked it Oct 04, Dean Nan rated it it was amazing Feb 27, Derrick rated it it was amazing Jun 25, Yasin S.
Hunter R. Vo rated it really liked it May 19, Boustrophedon rated it liked it Feb 13, Joseph Lamarre rated it it was amazing Jan 17, Paul rated it it was amazing Jun 14, Foroozan Faraji rated it it was amazing Jun 04, Ron Kahn rated it it was amazing Mar 14, Thomas Woods rated it really liked it Apr 29, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
Readers Also Enjoyed.As a result the number of stones in each bowl used to give the total numbers as multiples of powers of 10, very similar to the modern place-value system. Marginal interest or not?
THE UNIVERSAL HISTORY OF NUMBERS: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer
Rosy Tahan. Georges Ifrah.
He similarly devotes ample time to explain the fascinating origin of the various bases used throughout history This book covered everything I was looking for and more. He does not cite any reference in the book next to these lines, though historians and anthropologists came with this information long before Ifrah started work on the book.
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